Musicians and artists might need talent to succeed, but writers don't, says Jerry Cleaver in Immediate Fiction. Cleaver allows that talent is needed to win a National Book Award, say, but otherwise, any of us can do it. All we need is the ability to "develop and exercise sadistic license." The operative word is conflict. As Cleaver puts it, "Happy lives make lousy novels.... If the characters are having a good time, the reader is not." He takes the mystery out of fiction writing. You don't have to write about what you know, he says; write what you can imagine. Don't fret if you can't find large chunks of time to write. Start with five minutes on weekdays and 20 on weekends, and you'll have 100 to 300 pages by year's end. Perhaps most refreshing about Cleaver's approach is the lack of directives. Some writing instructors demand that you work with an outline; others forbid it. Cleaver claims that teachers who tell you to do it one way or the other are telling you not how you work best, but how they work best.